On July 10, 1977, in the context of the Spanish general election that was held one month before, hundreds of people from different parts of the Basque Country marched toward Iruñea, the capital of Navarre, in a large demonstration against the Spanish government and the new political direction after Francisco Franco’s death. Billed as the “March of Freedom” (Askatasunaren Ibilaldia), this demonstration demanded a complete amnesty for all political prisoners, the acknowledgement of Basque national identity, the right to self-determination, and the removal of all the Spanish law enforcement bodies from the Basque Country. Four distinct columns of demonstrators departed walking from the towns of Gernika (Bizkaia), Zarautz (Gipuzkoa), Agurain (Araba), and Lodosa (Navarre). These four columns finally joined together in Aratzuri (Navarre), where they celebrated a closing event on August 28. Although their first intention was to conclude the march in Iruñea, a last-minute prohibition of this demonstration in the historic capital forced them to change the initial plans. This event was the largest demonstration ever seen in the Basque Country after the end of Franco’s dictatorship.


One of the columns marching to Iruñea (Navarre)

askatasun ibilbidea 1977

Crowds gathered in the fields of Aratzuri (Navarre) on August 28, 1977


Basque politician Telesforo Monzon addressed a big crowd at the closing event

Every Friday we look into our Basque archives for interesting historic events that happened on the same day